Running Shoes, Past, Present & Future (Part Two)

Minimalist Running Shoes vs Maximum Cushioning Running Shoes

Minimalist running ShoesMinimalist running shoes became popular because there was a growing perception that traditional running shoes had become so cushioned. So rigid (Structured) that they did most of the work the foot was designed to do. There is a belief that this has the effect of weakening joints and muscles in the feet and actually increasing the rate of running related injuries.

Advocates of minimal running shoes do not think it is a good idea to heel strike. A commonsense approach would tend to agree with this assertion. After all, if you were at home in your bare feet and decided to jump off a stool onto a tiled floor, you are not likely to land down on your heels. You would probably experience an unpleasant shock that would travel right up your body. Instead, you would probably naturally land on your forefoot where your feet can absorb the impact better.

There is no real scientific proof that impacting on your forefoot decreases impact forces and as a result reduces the likelihood of getting a running related injury. Common sense would suggest that this should be the case. The big problem with the minimalist approach is that if you have been running in a conventional running shoe with a big heel to toe drop, and then suddenly change to a minimalist shoe with something like a zero drop (equal cushioning in the heel and forefoot). Then it is not automatic that you will naturally adjust your gait from heel striking to forefoot striking.

Vibram Five-Finger’sHumans are creatures of habit so if you have landed on your heels for many years it is very likely that you will continue to do so unless you take the time to consciously retrain yourself to adjust your gait. There is a very good chance that many of the people who injured themselves wearing the Vibram Five-Finger’s came into this category. If you want to try minimalist running shoes then you should transition very gradually and very slowly. There are many really good transition shoes out there like the PUMA FAAS and the NIKE FREE that offer a really good graduated transition from traditional running shoes to a more minimal offering.

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Stay Tuned for the next installment of “Running Shoes, Past, Present & Future”
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Stay Tuned for the next installment of “Running Shoes, Past, Present & Future”, or If you have missed part one Click HERE to go back and catch up.